Skip to main content

Full text of "S'ina sapa wocekiye taeyanpaha = Catholic Sioux herald"

See other formats



15. 1909. 

Address Before The Institute Of 

Indian Teachers And Employees 

At The 

M. K. Agricultural School, 

Standing Rock Agency 

Sept. 2. 3. 4. 1909. 

Members of the Institute: 
Ladies and Gentlemen. 

. It affords me 
great pleasure to address you and 
to be with you on this occasion 
at this school of which I had 
charge for 22 long years (1884 — 
1908). This is the first Institute 
of Indian workers ever held at 
this school, and I am glad to be 
once more in the presence and 
company of people who are en- 
gaged in the same noble and 
meritorious and responsible work 
in which I have spent the best 
portion of my own life. It is 
good for you, my dear friends, 
to come together at times in or- 
der to exchange educational 
ideas, and also to encourage each 
other, for the life of a teacher, 
and of one in the Indian country 
especially so, is monotonous and 
varied at the same time. Its 
monotony comes from isolation, 
its variety is the teacher's com- 
mon lot everywhere — some days 
everything is bright and hopeful 
and then again everything is 
gloomy and hopeless. There is 
not much society in a reserva- 
tion boarding School, the com- 
forts are few and the work hard 
and continual, but you have to 
make the best of it, and the re- 
ward will not be wanting. The 
place, the school, in which we 
meet presents in itself quite a 
good deal of history about Indian 
educational life and school work. 
This Agricultural School, known 
from its beginning under the 
familiar name of '"Farm School," 
was opened in 1879, and was the 
first boarding school established 
on this Standing Rock reserva- 
tion. In 1882 ail the girls and 
smaller boys were transferred to 
the newly erected Agency Board- 
ing School — 16 miles north of 
here — and from that date till 
1886 it was a real farm-school for 
larger boys only. When I took 
charge of it in 1884 1 found about 
20 boys here, and as farming or 
any kind of manual work was not 
at all popular or welcome among 
the Indians of those days our ex- 
periences with the youngsters 
were certainly novel and varied. 
All employees were new, none of 
us understood the Sioux lang- 
uage, and the boys knowing this 
took certainly every possible ad- 

vantage of our "Greenness" in j 
the work, and gave us all kinds j 
of unpleasant trials.. Of the few i 
enrolled then I was never sure 
how many I would have the next 
day or hour. One of my most ' 
trying occupations was to count j 
them at meals and other gather- 
ings, and then it happened to me 
very often as the old schoolmas- 
ter in his quaint way put it: — "I 
saw some or many that were not 
here," as almost every day some 
would be in evidence or shine by 
their absence. The first Sunday 
I spent at the school not only 
some of the boys were absent 
"without leave,'' but also some 
of the horses were missing. In 
those days the Indian had not 
much inclination for anything 
out of his line, not for a civilized 
life, not for religion or anything 
real elevating. But these were 
the troubles of most Indian 
schools of that time, and we soon 
got used to them and gracefully 
submitted to the inevitable in the 
hope of better and brighter days. 
la spite of all difficulties and 
trials we continued our work 
from day to day as if nothing 
had happened the day before; 
the attendance soon increased 
and the regular routine work of 
school-life was firmly establish- 
ed. As the Indians, when I asked 
them for boy pupils, often used to 
offer me an excuse or refusal with 
the question, ''why I did not do 
anything for their girls. I came 
to the conclusion to remove this 
pretext by taking in girls also. 
Therefore in 1886 the school was 
reorganized for boys and girls 
and given literary, domestic and 
industrial departments which 
proved to be a move in the right 
direction as it gave satisfaction 
all around, and the attendance 
was soon increased to over a 
hundred, and sometimes we had 
as many as 150 pupils in the 

In the meanwhile schools mul- 
tiplied on the resrvation till we 
had four (4) large boarding— and 
several day— schools at different 
points. And if we now survey 
our field of action we find that 
conditions have greatly changed, 
and that the Indian of today has 
reached the most important pe- 
riod of his life and existence. 
The Indian has often been put 
on the cross road of life. In 
olden times he was called or or- 
dered in from the plains and 
forests and warpath and told to 
pitch his tent on the reservation 
under the immediate custody and 

supervision of his agent. By this 
he was deprived of much of the 
plentiful supply of fresh air with 
which nature constantly had pro- 
vided him and also of the whole- 
some exercise he had enjoyed in 
hunting and roaming freely 
through his country, not to speak 
of the plenty of good food he ate 
fresh fro the chase as the fruit 
of his labors, from the tent or 
tepee which had the window 
open all night '"he was next 
called to the one room, close, 
badly ventilated log cabin with 
the one half sash window the 
lights of which were often so 
smoky and dirty that he had to 
gooutside to see anything of the 
sun. moon or other lights. His 
luxeries in this to him so injuri- 
ous transition period were can- 
ned goods and the white man's 
porK and bacon together with 
badly cooked bread and other 
indigestable foods as Col. Mc- 
Laughlin, the well-known and 
tried veteran in the Indian ser- 
vice, in a recent interview de- 
scribed them and the conditions 
prevailing then to the point. The 
sad consequence of all this was 
the Indians health began to fail, 
and failed rapidly, and consump- 
tion and other diceases sent ma- 
ny in the prime of life to an un- 
timely grave. This hard process 
of life or living practiced its 
ravages on them for the last 25 
or 30 years. In the meanwhile the 
Indian also was called to school, 
and the confinement in the 
school did also not always work 
for his benefit. But he has more 
or less adopted himself to the 
hard road of civilization, and 
brighter days are dawning upon 
the race. The Indian is now 
once more put on the cross road 
of life as his allotment, his por- 
tion of the Lord's creation is 
given him as his inheritance, 
railroads soon cross his country 
in all directions, he has to part 
with his surplus land, he is once 
more and for the last time fitted 
out with everything for his new 
life, gets heap of money for lands 
sold, towns spring up every- 
where with ever so many temp- 
tations, landsharks threaten to 
embrace him from all sides 
with their alldevouring claws 
and greedy fangs, all the 
drawbacks and vices as well as 
benefits, advantages and beauties 
of civilization surround him all 
at once as it were. This is then 
justly considered the most im- 
portant period in Indian life and 
an especial call and appeal goes 

out from him to us to give him 
the very best in the line of help 
and useful education that we 
have and can afford, to give him. 
Now more than ever you that 
are right on the ground here 
with him have to unite your 
efforts to make your work suc- 
cessful and beneficial to those in- 
trusted to your care. Practically 
every one employed in the In- 
dian Service is expected to be a 
teacher by word, action ynd ex- 
ample, from the Indian Agent or 
Supt. down to the last employee 
under him, for the whole Indian 
Service is an Educational Service 
instituted to raise a dependent 
race to a higher plane and sphere 
of life and independency, from 
savagery or semi-civilization into 
the fullest light of true civiliza- 
tion. Every one in the Indian 
Service must therefore have 
something or all of the true 
teacher in him— the teachers in 
the class-rooms, the industrial 
teachers and instructors, the field 
matrons, farmers and all. For 
everv one in the service is there- 
fore self control necessary, if we 
want to control others, as Milton 
says : ' 'He who reigns within him- 
self, and rules passions, desires 
and fears is more than King. In 
our own hearts we must reign first 
if we want to successfully rule 
over others. As teachers of a 
race that has to be led to civili- 
zation we are also educators. To 
educate means to develope a 
man physically, mentally, moral- 
ly and spiritually; it is to give to 
the body, the mind, the imagina- 
tion, the will, the heart and the 
conscience that power and beauty 
proper to each; it is the contin- 
ous methodical and systematical 
suggestion of what is true, use- 
ful and good and beautiful to the 
end that the pupil may be 
brought under its influence to 
form and mould his life. The 
final aim of all education is to 
hold the animal man in subjec- 
tion to the spiritual man. The 
more spiritual we make the sub- 
jects of our work or those en- 
trusted to our training the more 
civilized we w T ili make them; the 
more our results will be m con- 
trast to heathenism, paganism 
and savaregy. the more we have 
succeeded in chalizing and 
educating our pupils. To educate 
means originally to lead and 
drawout; it is not so much a 
puttingin or cramming 
i n process as a -drawing out, an 
unfolding of the faculties of body, 
mind, heart and soul which have 


15. 1909. 

been dormant and sleeping and 
were never exercised before. 
We are certain that the faculties 
are all there in ths Indian as well 
as in the white child, but how 
to draw them out, how to de- 
velope them is the question, and 
tiie best way to do this is at 
once also the best method of 
teaching and educating. The 
end of man in his relation as a 
creature to his creator and God 
is happiness, eternal happiness, l 
and we can surely say that edu- 
cation is a principle help to se- ': 
cure temporal and eternal happi- ! 
ness. We will leave for tne 
present tne question of man's 
eternal happiness to religious 
education or man's religion, and 1 
will only consider man's tempo- ] 
ral or social happiness to be ob- 1 
tamed through a good education j 
as individual and as a social be- 
ing and member of family, state 
and society. Generally he is 
considered the best educat- 1 
e d who can help himseif and ! 
others the best, and in this con- 
sists happiness for himself and ■ 
others,, True education there- j 
fore causes Happiness of the soul 
and heart if trained to virtue, it 
causes happiness of the mind 
and intellect if trained to knowl- 
edge, and it causes happiness of 
tne body if tratned to proper care 
of health — and strenght, — to 
proper exercise and development 
of ail bodily powers and faculties. ' 
The harmonious training of ■ 
Heart, Head and Hand causes 
and produces the right kind of 
happiness, Domestic Happiness. 
This tru« education means to 
teach man to do wnat is right, to 
do justice to himself, his fellow- 
men and to his God and Creator, 
to render to Caesor what is Cae- 
sar's and to God what is God's 
— or to follow the golden rule of 
life the faithful observance of 
which always causes happiness, 
pleasure and good will all around. 
The whole Indian child must 
go/to school just as well as any 
other child, and the more so be- 
cause the Indian, child has not 
the home education and tradi- 
tions the white or civilized child 
has- but has to learn almost 
everything, regularity in all 
things, new things to do and 
when and how to do them proper- 
ly. The teaching of the Indian 
child how to do things right or to 
do the right thing, also implies 
the duty to teach him how to 
avoid what is wrong and evil, to 
teach him not to do what is wrong. 
This is a very important factor 
in Indian education. The Indian 
with his child nature is naturally 
inclined to extremes and excess- 
es. We have then not only to 
develop his good God-given fa- 
culties, but we have also to curb 
and restrain his evil appetites, 
have to direct his wroug inclina- 

tions, have to teach him how to 
subdue them and when to say: 
No to the temptations of life. As 
he indulged often too much in 
his old time pleasures, so he is 
very apt to be given up too much 
to the pasttimes and enjoyment! 
of his new civilization. Many 
years ago it w T as dancing with 
him almost night and day; the 
famous Tom-Tom was heard 
through the camps at all hours 
and paint and 'feathers were in 
evidence all around. At that rate 
the Indian would never have 
amounted to anything as a mem- 
ber of civilized and christianizpd 
society. Therefore the greatest 
efforts were made on the part of 
th e G o v era m e n t and th e in i s sion - 
aries to direct his attention to 
better things, and it was clone 
with satisfactory results in many 
places. But after having given 
up his Indian dance he soon fell 
in excessive love with the white 
dance which was offered to him 
as a questionable substitute, and 
it was not all his fault, if his 
choice was wrong. Some of his 
educators added to the education 
of the three H's a fourth IT - they 
confined themselves not to the 
education of the Heart. Head and 
Hand, but at times put even more 
stress on the training of the 
Heels, so that the Indian readily 
stepped from one extreme over 
to the other. And these white 
dances soon alsd meant to him bad 
whiskey, bad association and 
many other bad things, because 
he was not taught moderation 
and the proper measure in en- 
joying himself. Touching on this 
point an incident of my early ex- 
periences in Indian School life 
comes to my mind. I had once a 
very sick girl at the school. Her 
father and mother were sitting 
near her sickbed, and ail at once 
the father (a man by the name of 
Short Baldhead. one of our 
neighbors) asked me, whether 
his daughter was given any me- 
medicine. "Oyes," I answered. 
""'Weil, where is it?" -"Right 
here." "Is it good medicine?" 
"Yes.' ''Well then," the man 
continued, "if it is good medi- 
cine, why do you not give it to 
her all the time, why not make 
her drink it all along till she is j 
well?" The poor old man had 
no idea, that medicine, to do any 
good, had to be given only at cer- 
tain times and in certain doses. 
This reminds me of the Indian's 
erroneous actions and yiews in 
other ways, where he is taking 
his medicine wrongly all the time. 
If he begins to drink he feels like 
drinking all the time, aadso it is 
with gambling, smoking, danc- 
ing and other dubious practices; 
if he is once at it, and it is to his 
taste, he never lets up on it, no 
matter how injurious it might be 
to him. Only in working and a 

few other things he draws a line: 
there he is not at it all the time, 
there very few are found over- 
zealous. I met not long ago an 
Indian student who had just re- 
turned from one of our large 
non-r«srvation schools. Some 
time ago that school had changed 
superintendents, and the emloy- 
ees wanted to give the, new man 
a grand reception of which the 
principal feature was to be a big 
dance. Hearing of it he gave 
them to understand, that he was 
not in favor of the dance sajing": 
"'You had. as I am informed, 
enough of this here in the past. 
I will begin to educate my pupils 
at the head and not at the heels. 
That man evidently had the good 
will to introduce methods differ 
ing from those in vogue at oher 
schools. I have one of that kind 
in my mind, from which a pupil 
wrote home, and in describing 
the almost continual round 
of amusements they a ad there 
remarked: "Our school of soci- 
als, social means Dancing." You 
will see best where restitution 
and direction is necessary. Let 
the Indian have his pleasures 
and pasttimes, but within proper 
limits. I am no puritan, and do 
not entertain puritanical ideas. 
The Indians as all men are en- 
titled to the pleasures of life, but 
we should not put temptations in 
their w T ay; we should see that 
they do not overstep the boudery 
lines and commit excesses which 
hinder them from becoming use- 
ful, upright, sober and industri- 
ous men and citizens. 

The well known saying: "The 
only good Indian is a dead In- 
dian" is by far not as bad and 
horrifying as it is generally 
taken and interpreted. It shows 
simply how difficult it is to raise 
a man from the state of savagery 
and degradation to the higher 
regions of civilization, to make a 
man forget and change the ways 
trodden by his ancestors for cen- 
turies. The old pioneers and 
soldiers from whom it originated 
with all their many faults were 
as a rule true and plain and call- 
ed, as the saying is, a spade a 
spade. In fact the apparently 
hard dictum does not tell half or 
not more than half of the truth, 
for if the Indian, like any other 
man, is not good in life, he will 
hardly be good in death, for ac- 
cording to our christian view and 
belief our real and lasting good- 
ness or worthlessness begins 
with death in the other life, will 
be fully revealed only in death 
and what follows death. With 
and for us the real good Indian 
shall be the industrious, hard- 
working, sober and christian In- 
dian, to make him such shall be 
our honest endeavor, this shall 
be our moto and the great watch- 
word and purpose of our educa- 

tional, work and then he will be 
good both in life and in death. 
This is certainly a great and 
praiseworthy undertaking and 
worthy of our efforts and endur- 
ance. Kippling. the English poet 
said: "You cannot hustle the 
East." It applies also to out- 
West and our North West, to our 
Indian country. You cannot 
hustle the Indian population un- 
duly. The change must be grad- 
ual, and the patience of those who 
would accomplish satisfactory re- 
sults must be immense and colos- 
sal, although it is expected that 
more changes and progress will 
take place in the Indian life the 
next five years than were wit- 
nessed the last fifty years. -Let 
your work than be real, bene- 
ficial, useful and to the point. 
Do not feed the Indian with all 
sorts of educational fads and ex- 
periments which are to no pur- 
pose, but give him the real thing 
he needs most for life. Follow 
the old teacher's well known 
and time honored latin axiom: 
"Non scholae, sed vitae discimus 
■ — we teach hot for the school, 
but for life.'' for the future life 
of our pupils. This shall be your 
guiding rule in all your indus- 
trial, intellectual, or litterary, 
moral and religious teaching. 
Let your life above all be a shin- 
ing example and most instructive 
object lesson to those people-— 
they are looking up to you for it. 
— You have undoubtedly come 
out here with the intent. on also to make 
your good living, tu improve your con- 
dition, to prepare the way for future 
premotions. to lay up something for a 
rainy day etc. Nobody can have any- 
thing against tin's. To the contrary, 
spendthrifts and debtma-ers and such 
liKe are not wanted in tne Indian service- 
I have found that the most saving em- 
ployees were also as a rule the best and 
most conscientious woriiers, tolerating 
no waste of government property and 
teaching tne pupils the rules of savii g 
and a sensible economy in all things by 
word and example, Impart all your 
good and bone. t and pure ambitions to 
your.pupils. But do not forget, you are 
not here, in your responsible positions, 
only for yourseives, but principally for 
your charges and pupils whom you shall 
train according to your best possibility 
for future usefulness, so that they be- 
come useful members of society, good 
citizens of tne country, and also good 
christians, because the needs of the 
heart and soul above all should not be 
neglected, and tney are supplied by the 
heip of religion. All sincere educators 
agree that moral virtues shall be taught 
and inculcated m school; but moral 
virtues are tne cnildren and fruits of 
religion. Do not then exclude the 
mother, if you desire the presence of the 
daughters within your school halls. 

I wish you all God's speed and the best 
of success for the coming school year. 
Teach the Indian Child well and honest- 
ly along all useful lines — makethe hand 
industrious, make the head and the mind 
and brain in it active and thoughtful, 
make the heart righteous and the soul 
beautiful and bright by christian graces 
and virtues, then your work is well done 
and is bound to be blessed and fruitful 
for this life and the world to come.